Are you interested in learning about the best whole house water filters?
Whole house water filters are effective systems that can filter out chlorine, heavy metals, pesticides, and other contaminants.
In this article, I will go over...
- My #1 top choice for the best whole house water filter
- The overall benefits of having a whole house water filter
- How whole house systems compare to point-of-use water filters
- A quick overview on installing a whole house water filter system
Let’s get started with this guide!
My Overall #1 Rated Pick
My overall top pick for the best whole house water filter goes to the iSpring WGB32B three stage whole house water filter. This water filtration system will filter down to 5-microns with the first stage---capturing sand, rust, and scale. The filter system with then remove more contaminants with the 2nd and 3rd stage carbon filters such as chlorine, odors, pesticides, and VOCs. This system is easy to install for homeowners with basic DIY plumbing skills.
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The Top 5 Best Rated Whole House Water Filters
Short on time? Here is my short list of the best whole house water filters. These central house filters can remove chlorine, heavy metals, and pesticides. To read my full review with their pros and cons, keep scrolling.
- iSpring 3-Stage One Year Whole House Water Filter System (#1 Top Pick)
- Express Water Heavy Metals 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System (Close Second)
- Aquasana 10-Year Whole House Water Filter System
- EcoPure 6-Month No Mess Whole House Water Filter System
- Culligan Sediment Whole House Water Filter System
What Is A Whole House Water Filter?
Whole house water filters are systems designed to filter water for the entire house --- not just a single sink such as point of use filters.
Whole house water filters will work for every shower, sink, and appliance in the entire home.
These entire home filtration systems are usually installed just after the main water shutoff valve and prior to the water heater.
There are also a wide variety of filtration system types, sizes, and longevity. Some filters are meant to be changed or cleaned every month or two, and other larger filtration systems may last for years --- and even up to a decade.
After installation, the main maintenance requirement of whole house water filters is periodically changing the filters.
What Can Whole House Water Filters Remove?
The most common reasons for the installation of a whole house water filter include the removal of things like...
Some homes may get excessive amounts of sediments or particles in their water. Things like sand, rust, dirt, and other debris can cloud your water, damage your appliances, and may stink up your water.
One of the biggest gripes of homeowners is the chlorine smell and taste in their water. Chlorine is also known to cause skin and hair irritation.
If you get reddish or brown stains in your sinks and tubs, or if your water has a reddish hue, you may have excessive amounts of dissolved iron (or iron flakes) in your water --- especially if it is a well system. Here is a recent article I wrote on the best filters at removing iron from well water systems.
If you see scale or white mineral residue on your shower heads, you may have an excessive amount of hard minerals in your water which is mainly calcium and magnesium.
If you are concerned about water pollutants such as lead and mercury, some whole house water filters have single stages designed to remove heavy metals.
How Do I Choose A Whole House Water Filter?
Probably the first step in choosing a whole house water filter is knowing the main things that you want to filter out of your water.
If your big concern is the rust staining in your sinks, then you want a filter that will remove iron. If your worry is the chlorine smell and taste, then a filter that is good at chlorine removal is crucial. Or if you have a lot of scale build-up on your shower heads, which means you have hard water, then you want a filter that can effectively remove calcium and magnesium.
If you are uncertain about the chemistry of your home water, then there is a simple solution --- a home water test.
I personally recommend the Home Water Test Kit by Health Metric.
This water test kit will basically look at every aspect of water such as hard minerals, heavy metals, total chlorine, and even bacteria. It is designed for tap water and well water. You can see the price of the Home Water Test Kit on Amazon right here.
After you have tested your water chemistry, you can be confident in the type of filter you purchase will actually solve your problem.
Some whole house water systems can exceed one thousand dollars, but others can be purchased for less than $100. If you need just a basic sediment filter that can improve water taste, then a cheaper filter may be your best option.
Before you purchase a whole house water filter, it is essential to know the flow rate of the filter and of your household. The flow rate is the amount of water used as gallons per minute. The average whole house filter flow rate is in the 5-15 GPM range.
If your family uses 30-GPM, and your filter is rated for 10-GPM, then there will be a significant drop in water pressure during peak water usage. Try to determine your households GPM during peak water use by adding up all of your plumbing fixtures flow rates in use (look for the GPM data on the back of the toilets, vanities etc.)
Filter Size & Longevity
There are various sizes of whole house water filters available. A large filter can service high water supply and have a long service life. Some filters are made to last for up to 10 years without changing. There is usually still a pre and post filter requiring more frequent changes.
Great whole house water filters are certified by NSF or ANSI. This is because they comply with quality standards and specifications.
How Do You Inspect Whole House Water Filters?
#1. Clogged Filters
A common home inspection focus is neglected filter maintenance. An easy way to get an idea of the filters is the water pressure. Is the pressure low at the sinks and showers? The filter may need to be changed.
Are there any indications of leaking at the valves or connections of the filter? Are there signs of mineral build-up which has indicated past leaking?
#3. Water Shutoffs
Is there a water shutoff prior to the water filter? How about post filter? Having two shutoffs will make it easy to replace the filter or perform maintenance.
#4. Carbon Filter
If there is a carbon filter stage in the water filtration system, it should always be downstream of the sediment filter stage. If these stages are reversed, sediment build up in the carbon filter can lead to microbial growth.
How to Install a Whole House Water Filter?
Even though installing a whole house water filter can be a DIY job, for most homeowners, it is advisable to hire a competent plumber to install it.
I recommend using Thumbtack which is a free resource for homeowners to find competent plumbers. You can read customer reviews, look at company profiles, and message plumbers for a quote.
Check out Thumbtack to find qualified plumber to install your water filter system.
Most whole house filters already come with the fittings, water shutoff valves, and other components needed to install the filter system.
Here is a quick breakdown of how to install a whole house water filter...
Step 1: Find the right location for your water filter. A whole house water filter is usually installed AFTER the main water shutoff (and water meter). You may want to install the water filter after it branches for the exterior hose bibs.
It's advisable to install it in a location that is accessible so you can easily change the filter.
Step 2: Shut off the main water supply
Step 3: Open a faucet at the lowest possible point in the home to drain all the water left in the pipes.
Step 4: Cut and remove the pipe section for the filter using a tubing cutter. Make sure the length accounts for the whole system including any valves and fittings.
Step 5: Smooth the ends of the newly cut pipes
Step 6: Install the shutoff valves on both ends
Step 7: Mount the whole house water filter using the manufacturer provided bracket and bolts (and seal any threaded ends using Teflon tape to prevent leaks).
Step 8: You will need to solder or glue the pipe joints. If you use push fittings, you may not need to.
Step 9: Turn water back on. Now it's time to flush the system with cold water from a faucet. If you have a carbon filter, run the water until the dark water (carbon dust) goes away. You may also see cloudiness for a day or two which are air bubbles from the carbon filter and is normal.
Where To Buy The Best Whole Home Water Filter?
There are many outlets—both online and offline—that sell whole house water filters. However, it is important that when you want to buy your water filter, you should look for a place that sells quality whole house water filters.
In my opinion, Amazon is a great market to find a whole house water filter because you can choose from a variety of products, and read an extensive amount of customer reviews. Amazon also has a great return policy, and shipping is usually very fast…sometimes free.
What Is The Best Whole House Water Filtration System?
Here are my top picks for the best whole house water filter with some of their pros and cons...
My #1 top pick is the iSpring 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System is an economical and quality choice for water filtering -- it removes 99% of chlorine and 95% of sediment.
The 1st stage sediment filter will remove fine sand, dirt, rust, and scale. And then the 2nd and 3rd stage carbon filters will remove the chlorine, bad odors, and VOCs.
This filter system has a capacity of 100,000 gallons or about 1 year of usage for a family of four.
- Removes 99% of chlorine and 95% of sediments
- See through system for visually gauging performance
- Less costly
- Customer complaints of leaking
- Average quality filters
The Express Water 3-Stage Filter System is a high quality water filration system that is a single stage focused on heavy metals removal.
The first stage is for sediment filtration, and the third stage is the carbon filter.
This system includes pressure gauges so you can monitor how each filter is functioning. The product also comes with a free standing frame that makes it easier to install and to change filters.
It is rated for about 100,000 gallons or 6 months of use.
- Focused on heavy metals removal
- Clear first stage filter to monitor
- Easy installation with free standing frame
- Customer complaints of leaks
- Removes 97% of chlorine found in regular tap water
- Dual tank design with pre & post filtration
- Comes with brass fittings, water shutoffs, and bend supports
- Very expensive
- Poor customer service
The EcoPure whole house water filter is one of the cheapest whole house water filters but yet possesses a great filtration capacity at 5 microns.
It is NSF certified for its durability and reduces chlorine to the smallest levels. It filters sediment, sand, rust, and odors leaving your water pure and healthy.
The water filter is easily replaced with an automatic bypass so you don't have to turn off the water to the home just to replace the filter.
The manufacturer of this filter system, EcoPure, has been one of the leading providers of cleaner water since 1925.
- Easy filter replacement without shutting off water to house
- EcoPure has been in the industry since 1925
- Low price
- More expensive filters
- Bi-annual filter replacement
- Lower quality materials
The Culligan water filter was built not only for sediment from your home such as dirt, rust, sediment, and sand in your home, but also for protecting all of your appliances that come in contact with your water.
While it reduces dirt, sediment, bad taste, and odor, it also eliminates scale and corrosive chemicals that harm your appliances rust.
The system features a mounting bracket, clear housing, bypass, water shutoff, filter life indicator, and pressure relief valve. The bypass shut-off valve ensures that water still runs through your home whenever the filter is getting replaced.
- Sediment filter but can also remove bad tastes and odors (depending on filter type)
- Features bypass shut-off valve to keep water running during replacement
- Efficient removal of odor and taste
- Carbon filter not included
- Lower quality materials
If you have been paying attention all along, it is no surprise that our top pick is the iSpring WGB32B three stage whole house water filter. Here's why...
1. Chlorine Removal
One of the biggest gripes of homeowners is the gross chlorine smell and taste in water. In addition, chlorine isn't exactly good for your skin or hair. This whole house water filter will remove up to 99% of the chlorine.
2. One Year Length
This 3-stage water filter system will last 100,000 gallons or about 1 year for a family of four. Who wants to be constantly changing filters and dealing with that kind of maintenance? Definitely not me.
3. Carbon Filters
After the first stage sediment filter, the water will go through two carbon stage filters to remove bad tastes, pesticides, VOCs, and other harsh chemicals. The iSpring uses high quality coconut shells for its carbon. Carbon is highly porous and it catches these noxious chemicals in its pores.